Thursday, November 19, 2009

Third World Dictators and the Pottawattamie Case

We saw a most extraordinary thing recently in the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court, where lawyers representing the prosecutors of this country demanded absolute immunity no matter how outrageous and dishonest their conduct. (The Pottawattamie County v. McGee case involves prosecutors who knowingly framed two innocent people for a murder, forcing those men to spend more than two decades in prison before being released.)

As I read through the information, I have come to realize that what prosecutors want is a court system in which they can operate like Third World dictators. In such a system, they are absolute rulers, and whatever they want, they get, and if they are found to have lied, engaged in lawbreaking, suborning perjury, whatever, well, "sh*t happens."

Guess what? If the U.S. Supreme Court grants their wish, look for prosecutors to be even more emboldened in their lying and lawbreaking. From what I can tell, there are a lot of people in this country who want our system of "justice" to reflect what happens in places like Zimbabwe and North Korea.

More than one person has told me something akin to, "I have traveled all over the world and can say that ours is the best system of justice out there." Maybe that is true, but I have a question in reply: If our system is the best in the world, why do so many people want to change it into something from the Third World?

I will say up front that I have absolutely no confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court to do the right thing and affirm the rule of law. Instead, they will tell us what great guys the cops and prosecutors really are and how we need to protect them from the "bad guys."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Bill.

It seems like SCOTUS would have to fabricate some very clever maneuvering in this Pottawattamie case to expand what the duties of a prosecutor are to include, while at the same time avoiding tarnishing their own credibility by ignoring previous rulings that are not that old, if they wish to expand the immunity so far that it would cover what went on in this case.

If they do rule that way, it will indicate to me that ALL three branches have decided that under this Administration it is time to ignore any semblance that the purpose for such a system was to keep each branch in check, saving our Constitution and the people it was to protect from Big Brother.

I had anticipated you would write something more covering the topic of our “right not to be framed”. In addition to our right to Liberty, I'd feel certain there are many laws that cover just the conspiracy for such an act, making that conduct itself a crime whether or not that conspiracy is carried out AND most certainly to INCLUDE the conspiracy as a crime ITSELF if it is.

I'm lost as to how the argument has centered on the conspiracy ONLY being a crime when the act itself happens in a trial, so then the tort would ONLY apply to the ACT here. I know they can't open the door to suits against prosecutors for NOT doing their job, but the act of conspiracy to frame someone should clearly show a prosecutor is violating various duties they are sworn to uphold.

Even if we ignore SCOTUS taking on the case (maybe good, if they draw a finer line on what prosecutors can't do), a couple worrisome issues that bothers me most is the FACT we were told
the present Administrative branch of our government feels they are above the laws that apply to others, they have a different set of rules governing them (the pig is sleeping in the bed and wants all to know it!).

Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal:
"There is no Freestanding Constitutional 'Right Not To Be Framed.'"

Solicitor General Kagan:
"But absolute immunity reflects a policy judgment that such conduct is properly addressed not through civil liability, but through a host of other deterrents and punishments."

Maybe it would be best if SCOTUS rules there are separate rules for the "haves" & havenots", it might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I look forward to reading more from you on this case, hopefully it will be about SCOTUS making the right ruling AND the MANY other PROBLEMS revealed in the brief filed by Katyal.


William L. Anderson said...

Some years ago, Charlotte Twight wrote in an Independent Review paper that Washington recognizes no limits upon itself and what is can be permitted to do. I have seen over the last decade an increasing amount of abuse of people at all levels of government.

Where I work as a college faculty member, I find most of the profs really believe that government can accomplish anything, provided the right people are in charge. The idea that government should recognize any limitations does not even have the slightest resonance among the "educated" people. (Now, when Republicans are in charge, suddenly the same people become concerned about government intrusion into their lives, but they are willing to swallow anything a government run by the Democratic Party will do, and I mean ANYTHING.

(My Republican friends pretty much say the same thing when Republicans care in charge. Many of the same people at the "Tea Parties" had no problem with the Bush administration spending money like drunken sailors.)